Bank shots

My niece is marrying a billionaire.

Well, I should say, a billionaire’s son. Now, mind you, I have hobnobbed with my share of the international cognoscenti from time to time and Geoffrey’s family are well known and affluent, but this is warp-speed level in another universe.

Her mother, my sister-in-law Vanessa, groomed this kid for exactly this outcome by sending her to all the right places to meet kids whose backyard was the globe. And, she’s a beautiful girl. An actress. So, maybe none of this should be a surprise. Most importantly, her future husband (both of them are the same age, they met in college) seems to be a really great person. He’s an actor too. Of course.

Now, as riveting as I am sure all this is to everyone — this all turns into another mammoth undertaking. One cannot simply throw a few rags into a bag and go, right? After the shock and awe of the announcement at a family party last month, and recovering my eyesight after glancing at the ring, I suddenly realized that I not only have to get on a plane and fly to this destination wedding, but I have to have four days worth of outfits appropriate for that crowd, to boot. Yikes.

Luckily, Deanna and I decided we would both go. Geoffrey cannot tear himself away from work and doesn’t want to spend four days doing “silly” wedding things. Al doesn’t want to go, period. So, we are going to make it a girls event.

So, of course I went online, straight to Bergdorf’s and got three crazy overpriced outfits, luckily, on sale. I have hundreds of accessories of every kind, so I justified the cost of those outfits by thinking I could break out some of my low-tick shrugs and bags, etc.

Then Van dropped the other Choo: we are all to wear white to the wedding! Wait, what?? Noooooooooo… Yup, another trip online, this time though, I was so thoroughly chastened that I headed to Nordstroms and got my ecru evening-appropriate dress there. Now I am lousy with wedding guest duds, so I guess I will have to find other weddings  to crash (and I usually avoid them like the plague).

For a very brief moment of insanity, Deanna and I considered saving ourselves a ton of hassle and skipping it.

Then we came to our senses. When would either of us ever-ever-ever get to go to four days of parties with that crowd? Would you be surprised if I told you Harry and Meghan might be attending? Am I sounding groupy-esque enough now?

It takes a lot for me to be star-struck. Growing up in NYC, and having celebrities in our neighborhood, passing them on the street without a second look, I didn’t think any of these people could possibly impress me. But my niece’s future family are just fascinating, pure and simple. I want to see what dollar-genius looks like up close and personal, LOL.

Now, of course, I am setting myself up for either being overwhelmed or disappointed. We shall see. Geoffrey just sneers at my excitement and (probably rightfully) concluded it’s merely an excuse to get dressed up, since he goes out of his way to do the opposite.

Uh, yeah! Deanna and I are going to pull out all the stops, and at the very least, have fun showing off our glam-girl sides. Something we never get to do in LA (suppose we are not hanging with the cool crowd here).

OK, enough about that. This is Banker’s Hill in San Diego. Right at the edge of Downtown, these are homes built by financiers in the early 20th century. The whole neighborhood is filled with vintage mansions, immaculately kept and updated. Most have views over the city to the water, just to the west of this enclave. The properties are astronomical but this is the place I am determined to find a hut when we make our permanent investment of a home in the area.

For now, we are still enjoying the houses we have.

Another nice aspect of the upcoming bash abroad is I will be able to share some awesome pictures of the surrounding area. I doubt we will be allowed to bring cameras to the wedding events, so my cell phone will have to do. More on that when the time comes.  Meanwhile, I have to get all my other obligations out of the way so I can relax and look forward to whatever my brilliant SIL Vanessa came up with (although she assured me the groom’s parents’ staff is taking care of all the usual arrangements. Leave it to Van to have fallen into that piece of luck!).

Anyone familiar with this blog already knows what my wedding was like (hint: Un-y-mooners posts), hee hee.

Stay tuned and thank you for putting up with me as I pre-drool, copiously.

Images: Chez BeBe assets/Banker’s Hill, San Diego

 

Hot saws

Mexico has been in the news repeatedly for the past two years, and we all know why.  A deranged toddler averred that Mexico has not been sending their best. Really? Has this clown ever been there? Has he been in the Southwestern United States much?

One thing I appreciate about being in Southern California, and having a second home close to the border now, is my proximity to all things Latin American, without any of the drawbacks of living there.

I have lived south of the border and while I enjoyed the cultural enrichment, it isn’t easy for a pampered American to live abroad anywhere, including in our own hemisphere, no matter how sophisticated the country.

Whenever we want to, we can drive a few minutes to Olvera Street in Downtown LA or, when in San Diego, hit Old Town.

Since I have been in Mexico half a dozen times, ranging from Puerto Vallarta, to Mexico City, to Tijuana, I can say with confidence, Old Town is the same thing — almost.

We get the benefit of the unique and delicious food, the cheerful, catchy music, the colorful art, and the fact that without Mexico and Puerto Rico, most Americans could only speak English, and that, just barely.

Don’t think for a minute you can learn another language with Rosetta or Babbel.

There is only one way, either you are raised in a multilingual household by native speakers from other countries, or you immerse yourself in another culture without the benefit of falling back on English.

Where else would our English heritage have learned to add hot peppers to our bland diet?

Who do you think taught us about chili and cheese fries?

How else would we have had the good fortune to travel close-by to resorts that cost a small fraction of those in Europe or Hawaii?

Even the Caribbean is prohibitive. Not Mexico.

Would we have the beautiful architecture of all the Mission towns in the sun belt without the early Church fathers like Padre Junipero Serra?

And, Snow Birds who can no longer afford Miami or San Diego, can live like royalty over the southern border.

As you know, if you have been in my community for the last five years, I am no fan of hot weather, so when I choose to travel, it is always north.

In fact, we just got back from a wonderful trip to San Francisco. But I would be unfair if I were not to acknowledge the priceless contribution of South America to our country.

It needs to be recalled, that the people who come here want to bring all these good things to us in return for a chance to prove how wonderful they can be.

These are not lazy, untalented, unskilled people, nor criminals. These are hardworking ambassadors that contribute to our society in manifold ways. Let’s not forget it, or the words on the Statue of Liberty.

Images: Chez BeBe assets/Old Town, San Diego. Click on each photo to view it large.

Sogno divino

Can you believe it’s December?

I have been on such a marathon with my certificate classes, work, trips back and forth to our place in San Diego and the other householdy things I do in Valencia, that I have had almost no time to write on this blog.

Let me first say, what better time of year to introduce Little Italy on the water at the top of Downtown San Diego, than the holidays.

This old and venerated neighborhood — still hanging in there when many similar places have gone under, victims of “modernization” in other cities — is alive and hopping all hours of the day and night, all times of year.

But, especially in autumn and winter.

I had Kevin and Anna in tow when we made a shopping run to Little Italy recently. I still managed to get a few shots that could make up a series and ended up with over 150 pictures. Here are some of them.

Little Italy is colorful, as you can see. There is a misty haze in the air no matter the weather, being so close to the Pacific — evident in this set, too.

That gave me the ability to show the bright colors that characterize this enclave, yet with some softness imparted by the moisture.  It is never hot or cold, just pleasant all year long.

But that is a major feature of San Diego in general. It is truly mediterranean and likely one attraction for Italian immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The similar neighborhood is long gone from Los Angeles.

One legacy of all this is the staggering number of grocery stores and restaurants, trattorias and cafes that still inhabit the area.  And, pastry shops are also unique to this little part of town.

Urban hipsters are moving in in droves. Some are able to rent the vintage wooden houses that still stand.

Others are snapping up very small but very luxurious condos with views that developers have used to attract people to purchase in this place what would buy a villa elsewhere.

You don’t want to know the prices.

But, I have figured out that for a 1000 square foot apartment with three tiny bedrooms and two tiny bathrooms, buyers are grateful to pay almost a cool million dollars.

Now, as to blogging. I have to admit, as much as I love coming here to discuss things that you and I care about, it is hard to be chatty while this catastrophe unfolds in front of us.

Those of you who voted for this deranged toddler/con-man should admit to yourselves it was a mistake. Those of you who abstained because you got it into your heads that Hillary was just as bad, you are just as culpable for raining all this down on us.   Geoff and I knew we would get exactly this, just not the degree of depravity.

But, I won’t dwell on it. Like many of us, I am riding it out and hopeful that the Democrats pull their collective heads out of the sand and get the majority back so we can save this country from going any farther down this Orwellian neo-fascist road.

I don’t care who we put up for POTUS, that person had better have experience and fortitude because it is going to be an ugly fight.

That said, I would love you to comment about anything (not necessarily the politics, of course!) but you don’t have to. We are a community and I know you are here and we have each other’s backs.

Hugs to you all! Belated Happy Thanksgiving to my US friends. And Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah and Happy Holidays to everyone, as well.

Hoping to get back here in January — starting another certification class but I will post as soon as I can.

“Sogno divino” is my play on words. It can mean three or four things in Italian. It is also the clever name of a wine shop in Little Italy.

Images: Chez Bebe Assets/Little Italy, Downtown, San Diego

 

Truckulence

Now for something completely different.  (Click on the pictures to view them large.)

Let’s just get an old truck and paint it ourselves! Genius. Then we save money for a Mercedes.

As I mentioned in my Flickr series featuring these pictures, Geoffrey woke up one day after Christmas and announced it was time to get two new vehicles. Finally! After 15 years. I was really looking forward to it, even though we buy cars to last. I always get either a Mercedes or a Volvo.  At one point I tried Mitsubishi Monteros — loved them and then for a couple of years drove a Chrysler Town & Country minivan — liked it a lot. But for longevity and safety, I am a Volvo fan.

Yup. Here’s my car, parked in San Diego while we went to a fair recently. No hesitation. Seats 7 and rides like a dream. Comfy seats. I love it!

So, I had been eyeing an XC90 SUV for a few years and didn’t even have to think twice. I ran right out and found one I loved, with sparkling dark gray metallic, just like my older one. Done and done!

I am not a Beemer fan per se, but how about a convertible with a sparkling roof?

Geoffrey was a different story. We already had, between us, five vehicles. He had two trucks and a car, I had two cars: my vintage Mercedes totally maintained and restored and my 2002 Volvo sedan. Both in the same silver grey.  Geoffrey had his two trucks, one with an extended bed (are you sleepy yet?) and his black 2002 Volvo station wagon.

Or a cool little job with glowing hubs and an iridescent “butterfly wing” finish? Works for me!

Naturally, I thought he was going to get a sedan. But no, he decided he simply had to have another truck. One that he could take to all the fancy clients when he needed to look professional and ready to work, but also upscale and sophisticated. Ugh. How does that work? Another truck? And, where would be put it?

Maybe a custom Jeep? Looks roomy.

Resistance!!

This is probably what he imagines, with me emerging from a massive metal monster looking fierce. I might be forced to get tattoos!

We have three garages at our house. One of them has my Merc, one has his Volvo, and the other one is full of junk. We can squeeze three vehicles in the driveway and he keeps one truck in front of the house on our street and another one at his building in Downtown LA. Now we would have my new XC90 and his truck? We can’t hog the street, so I was really getting upset.

Well, my favorite color right now is purple. How about this? Like, glow-in-the-dark, right?

Also, I don’t want to drive around in another ole truck when he is driving. What’s the fun of new wheels then? I wanted something really snazzy and snappy and cool. Not a clunky truck.

Or … mother-of-pearl!

So, the only resolution was to let me pick it out. Aha!!! Dangerous.

Copper and Dayglo pink?

These pictures reflect my ideas as I let my imagination do the shopping.

Uh, this is what a full extended bed and king cab look like! I just tweaked it a bit. Manly, huh?

I know, right?

Something spooky for Halloween …

Wait for it — right down at the bottom is the one we finally chose. We could agree on it because it has a regular bed and a totally tricked out luxurious “cab”.

Or eerie … for the coming apocalypse. Just sayin’ …

OK, so it’s not a Mercedes, but I scored a victory by getting one that matches my car and can fit, amazingly enough, both in the driveway and in front of our house (with his other truck sent packing to his building to join the first one).

Prrrrrrrrrr …

Got all that? Anyway, that’s one of the many things taking up our time as the summer draws to a close.

Thought you might enjoy seeing these “confections” that sprang full grown from my head.

Images: Chez BeBe assets/Santa Clarita, California

‘Tis the season

No, not the season of joy, love and giving.

The hunting season.

This post is for anyone who has the link.

Please do not friend, follow, “like” me or comment on any of my social media sites, if you are a hunter.

As far as I am concerned, in the 21st century, it is the cowardly and brutal act of a weak and emotionally handicapped individual.

I am not in the thrall of any organization. I have held this position my entire life.

The NRA has infiltrated every sector of American society with lies about the need for hunting. Many people call it a sport. Both would be laughable, if they were not so serious.

Hunters, the NRA are pathetic.

One hundred thousand years ago, certain tribes may have needed to hunt animals on a small, low-tech (naturally) scale for survival. There are virtually no tribes like these left. Certainly not the overweight, flaccid American men who like to hunt with computerized automatic missiles from high-speed vehicles in “preserves” where animals are cornered for the enjoyment of these sick people.

Don’t lecture me about overpopulation of deer. I am an expert on this subject. Don’t tell me you eat what you kill, that’s just as bad.

If you are a meat eater, I can understand somewhat because the animal concentration camps where the carcasses you consume are kept and tortured, are hidden and manned by immigrants desperate for work. Hunters confront their victims head on. They have no excuse.

When they wake up or get treatment, we might re-establish our relationship. Until then, I want nothing to do with hunters.

To my regular friends here on WP, I am sorry, but this is the best place to post this note. A regular post is imminent.